Josiah Masie is a returning Rangeland Intern, so his name may sound familiar. We are happy to have him back this summer. He explains that “Irrigating has become my life” in his weekly summary for last week. Josiah also explains what irrigating has to do with range management and his take on what is learning on the ranch is great! Check it out below.
First things first, irrigating has become my life. It’s a constant chore to move dams, close gates, and irrigate across the fields as quickly as possible while still making sure everything is getting wet. There are some fields where I can move the dam 4 or 5 times a day, which is a lot for me, since I’m used to most being twice a day.
I figured I would talk about irrigating little though, just because one of my friends asked me what it had to do with rangeland management, and building off of that what it has to do with the internship. So this is what I told him and why I think it is important part of my internship: Irrigating is boring, tedious, and worst of all repetitive, but it is essential to maintaining healthy rangeland on ranches. No I don’t water the rangeland, or really affect it directly, but what I am doing is growing lush healthy meadows that 1) provide hay and feed, and 2) an alternative food source for our cattle and the wildlife around the ranch, other than just the range. A great example of this actually occurred this year… with the random weather and cold temperatures till the beginning of June, there was essentially no grass on our summer ranges for the cows to eat. However, instead of sending the cows up there when they planned and letting them over graze the area, they kept them in the meadows for an extra two and a half weeks to allow the grass to grow on the mountains, so that over grazing wouldn’t occur. When it comes to range management it is important to have these kinds of alternatives available in case of problems like that one. So I don’t really think of irrigating as a tool for farming, but as a method to preserving rangeland.
I’ll get off my soap box now and tell you about the week. Like I said plenty of irrigating, I’ve also been fixing some fence, and all the usual stuff. There has been a ton of rattlesnakes out lately, I guess it finally got consistently warm enough for them, so that has not been very fun to deal with. Thursday I went to a Sage Grouse symposium where I learned a bunch. Surprisingly there was actually a lot of talk about range management and how it can benefit the grouse… I wasn’t really expecting there to be very much about it but there was. I found a beaver skull in one of the creeks this week, so that was cool. It has been hitting up into the 90’s temperature wise all week so that has not been cool, and really that about it for the week.